WASHINGTON — The House rejected a comprehensive farm, nutrition and conservation bill on Thursday, leaving in limbo programs affecting cotton farmers and textile producers, and potentially agitating a trade dispute with Brazil.
The defeat of the $940 billion bill on a vote of 195 to 234 came as a surprise to GOP House leadership. The legislation aimed to broadly implement farm safety-net policies, and conservation and food stamp programs, over the next five years. But a majority of Democrats refused to support it because it contained steep cuts to food stamp programs, and 62 Republicans also voted against it. The Senate passed a farm bill earlier this month, but the failure in the House threw passage of the legislation into doubt.
Federal funding for a program supporting U.S. textile mills that use domestic cotton will expire on Sept. 30 if Congress does not pass either a new farm bill or an extension of the current farm legislation. Under the Economic Adjustment Assistance program in the bills, the government gives domestic textile mills 3 cents a pound on domestic or imported upland cotton they use, as long as the money is invested in acquiring, modernizing or expanding land, plants, buildings or equipment.
The National Council of Textile Organizations “is hopeful that leaders in the House will work with the Agriculture Committee chairman to resolve the remaining issues in the 2013 farm bill that caused its defeat,” said Sarah Pierce, senior vice president of NCTO. “Given the important Economic Adjustment Assistance program that is contained within the bill, NCTO urges the House leadership to act fast to bring a passable bill to the floor. U.S. textile producers rely on the economic adjustment assistance programs to reinvest in their plants and equipment, which allows for more American jobs in rural communities nationwide.”
The bill’s failure in the House could also aggravate a long-standing cotton subsidy dispute with Brazil. The legislation sought to bring into compliance U.S. cotton subsidy programs that were found to violate World Trade Organization rules in a case brought by Brazil dating back to 2002. Brazil has maintained that U.S. cotton subsidies depress global cotton prices. The WTO sided with Brazil and issued a series of findings between 2005 and 2008.
The U.S. and Brazil reached an agreement in 2011 that averted $800 million in sanctions. The U.S. agreed to make some changes in its cotton export and credit guarantee program, and to work with Brazil to establish a $147.3 million fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building for the Brazilian cotton industry. Brazil has identified a list of U.S. exports it would sanction, including raw cotton, woven fabric, cotton pants and shorts, and some jewelry and beauty products.
An official at the Brazilian embassy, who requested anonymity, said they are still evaluating the situation and declined to comment.
“If Congress does not enact a new farm law, payments to Brazil of $147 million a year will continue,” said Terry Townsend, executive director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee. “Eventually Brazil may lose patience and decide to retaliate, but for the time being I think the status quo will continue.”
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
Jewelry label @alisonlou has made a name for itself with fine jewelry that speaks to the Millennial market. Now @twallz21 reports that the label is bringing those playful ideas to a new affordable line of lucite hoops with the launch of Loucite by Alison Lou. Here’s a look from the line modeled by @emrata. #wwdaccessories
@sarahjessicaparker and @gilt are teaming up on a bridal ready-to-wear line. Tomorrow, Parker will launch SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Bridal — and as part of the launch, Gilt will offer 15 exclusive styles from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker footwear collection that were designed to complement the new line. Made out of 10 styles, the line is designed for a variety of occasions, from bridal showers to receptions. Get more details on WWD.com #wwdfashion
A grooming moment between @tanfrance and @antoni last night at the The LGBT Community Center Trailblazer Awards honoring Anna Wintour, Ricky Martin and more. See more photos at WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“It was a very surreal feeling. It wasn’t like we were in the studio together coming up with it — it’s more like he discovered it and loved it. I didn’t let myself get my hopes up, but then it happened it was very exciting,” said singer-songwriter @nombe on discovering that @pharrell would be using his song, “Cant Catch Me” on his HBO documentary series “Outpost.” The German-born singer — named Noah MacBeth — talked to WWD about feminism, using art as a platform for political expression and personal style. Read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
This season, denim is going west – in influence. Brands like @fathersdaughterla (pictured here), @tommyhilfiger Jeans, @levis and more are opting for raw, top-stitching styles. (Styled by @thealexbadia; 📷: @ryanplett)